Whenever the Christmas season begins and we reflect reverently on the virgin mother and her son, my mind always takes an unfortunate turn down memory lane to a personal “coming of age”, the memory of which always flushes my cheeks.
When I was about twelve years old, my family moved from Texas to a completely new and foreign part of the country- the East Coast- to a suburb of Hartford, Connecticut called Simsbury. As luck would have it, those yankee children were a bit more precocious than my laid-back Texan peers had been, but in a tragic way. One of the first questions the local boys asked me upon enrolling in 6th Grade at Latimer Lane Elementary School went something like this: “Are you a virgin?!?”
Now, don’t get me wrong, I had certainly heard the term “virgin” before, but I suppose I had never known the exact meaning. So, being the smart, enterprising kid that I was, I quickly cobbled together a definition in my mind.
“Virgin,” thought I, “where have I heard that word before?” After a moment, the light went on and I knew what the word meant. My newly illuminated stream of thought continued, “the word ‘Virgin’ is in the song Silent Night, referring to Mary! And what is special about Mary? Of course! She was pregnant!”
“BINGO!” I thought. There was the answer, of course, right in my brilliant early adolescent mind. “A VIRGIN IS A PREGNANT WOMAN, LIKE MARY!”
Suavely self-assured in my superb logical reasoning skills, I was now equipped to field every premature inquiry about my virginity. I answered each with a firm, confident “NO! Of course not! Are you?!?,” giggling as I imagined the silliness of asking whether I was a pregnant woman.
I wonder how long it took them to fiigure out I had no idea what I was saying. Ah, well, at least I was blissfully ignorant myself… Oh, in case anyone was wondering, the definition of “virgin” can be found here. (Oh, Wikipedia! Where were you when I needed you most??)